News & Events

Check this section for Yukon Energy's latest news and coming events.

If you have questions about any of the information posted here, please contact:

Janet Patterson
Manager, Communications
Yukon Energy Corporation
Phone: (867) 393-5333
Email: janet.patterson@yec.yk.ca

Billing
Feb 18, 2013  3

Estimates and Higher than Normal Bills

 We have had questions from some of you lately about your recent electricity bills. Some of you said your bills were higher than usual, and wanted to understand why. Others asked when and how we do an estimate instead of an actual reading, since in some cases your January bills were based on an estimate. First, to the question about the higher than normal bills. Please note we can only address queries from Yukon Energy customers; if you receive your power bill from Yukon Electrical Company Limited and have specific questions, you will need to contact YECL.    The bill you received in January was for energy consumption during December. As you know, it was a very cold month, and for some people it meant needing to plug in vehicles more often than usual. Added to that is the fact that at Christmas, most people tend to use more electricity. There is often more cooking done in the home and more use of electric lights. You may have guests, or children home from university, meaning more hot water is used; hot water can be a big draw on electricity. During cold weather, some people tend to supplement their home heating by using small portable electric heaters. You may not be aware that those heaters use a large amount of power....perhaps $50 a month or more. Because of the holiday schedule, your meter was read after 34 or 35 days instead of the usual 29 or 30 days. The longer time between meter readings can account for some of the bill increase. On top of that, the Yukon Utilities Board approved an interim rate increase of 3.75 percent that went into effect on Jan. 1st, so that too will have been reflected on your most recent bill. Now an explanation about estimates: we do our very best to read meters every month. However if we can't get to your meter for some reason, our system does an estimate. For example, there was an estimate done in early January for some of the communities we serve because it was -50 and we didn't want to send our meter readers out in such cold weather. Another reason we may have to do an estimate is because there is something preventing us from getting to your meter (a locked gate perhaps, an aggressive dog, or a path that has not been cleared of snow). In doing an estimate, our system is set up to use the previous year’s usage. For instance, if you used approximately 12,000 kW last year, the system would take that number, divide it by 365 days and then multiply it by 30 days to come up with the figure for the month (in this case 986 kW). The next time your meter is read, we take your actual energy usage and true it up with the estimate gathered from the previous month. We hope this helps you understand your electric bill. We are planning to travel to Faro, Dawson and Mayo (where most of our customers live) sometime next month to give people an opportunity to sit down with us and go over their bills face to face. Watch this blog for further details.

Billing
Nov 05, 2012  Comment

Investigating a High Winter Power Bill

No matter how careful you are, there's a good chance that you'll use more electricity during the winter months, especially if you have electric heat. Shorter days mean our lights are on longer, and we tend to use appliances such as electric stoves longer or more often. Winter is also when we plug in our vehicles, something that can be a big draw on power. If you receive a bill and you think it’s higher than it should be, we'd be happy to work with you to investigate the cause. But first, you can do a bit of sleuthing on your own. For instance, compare your usage. Look at how many kilowatts you consumed compared to other months to see if it has increased. There’s a graph on your bill that shows your consumption each month for the past year. Think about what may have been different in the last couple of months. For instance, did you have visitors in your home that might have accounted for higher energy usage (extra showers or higher washer/dryer and dishwasher use)? Have you recently used electronics such as portable space heaters, which draw a lot of power? If it’s around winter holidays such as Christmas, you might be baking more, using Christmas lights, your young adult children might be home from university, etc. Note that we have asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve a rate increase of 6.5 percent in 2013, but it will be some time before we know if that will be granted (the YUB could approve the full amount of our request, a smaller percentage, or none at all). In the meantime the Utilities Board has granted an interim rate increase of 3.75 percent starting on January 1, 2013. We will notify you on this blog once we receive the Utilities Board's final ruling. If you’ve considered all these factors and still can’t determine what would have caused your bills to increase to the extent they have, please contact us by email at billing@yukonenergy.ca, call us at 1-877-712-3375 or 993-5565, or if you live in Dawson City, drop into our office.

Billing
Jun 22, 2009  Comment

Lowest Power Rates in Years

At various times on this blog we have provided you with information about how your electrical bills are changing and what you can expect to pay for your power. Recent developments (a ruling by the Yukon Utilities Board on Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.'s rate application and a decision by the Yukon government to replace the Rate Stabilization Fund with a new program called the Interim Electrical Rebate) mean your bottom line is once again changing. In fact, your rates will be going down to the lowest they've been in several years. This post aims to explain what the changes mean to you in real dollars. As we did in our earlier postings on this topic, we'll use the example of a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month (the average usage in Yukon is about 750 kilowatt hours per month). In January of 2008, this person's bill would have been $123.39, including GST.  By January 2009, a number of things had changed. The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve an 11 percent increase in rates. While the YUB considered the request, it approved on an interim basis an increase of five percent, starting on August 1 of last year. Then Yukon Energy asked for a rate decrease of 17.8 percent for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours or less a month. While the YUB considered our request, it approved an interim decrease of 3.48 percent, starting December 1, 2008.  As a result of those events, by December 2008 our homeowner’s bill, based on 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used, was $134.56 a month. A reduction to zero of the Fuel Adjustment Rider (Rider F), and a final decision by the Yukon Utilities Board on Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.'s rate application dropped bills to $114.05 a month this June. Almost all this decrease was due to the Fuel Rider reduction. The Yukon Utilities Board rejected most of Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.'s proposed rate increase. Starting this July, bills will be reduced even further for residential customers. The Yukon government is replacing the out-going Rate Stabilization Fund with a new program called the Interim Electrical Rebate. Residential customers will receive a maximum rebate on their bills of $26.62 per month (before GST), which will bring the monthly cost of 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to $105.60. There's one more piece to this puzzle. The Yukon Utilities Board is still to rule on Yukon Energy’s request for a 17.8 percent decrease for first block residential customers. If it rules in our favour this fall,  the monthly bill later this year for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of power in a billing period would be $87.49…the lowest rates in several years.  

Billing
May 11, 2009  Comment

The Updated Bottom Line

A couple of months ago, we provided some information on this blog about bill changes you've experienced over the last several months and what you might expect to see in the future. Since that time, there have been some new developments that have changed the numbers. We wanted you to be aware of these changes. As we did in the original blog posting, we'll use the example of a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month (the average usage in Yukon is about 750 kilowatt hours per month). Last July, this person’s bill would have been $132.80, including GST. The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve an 11 percent increase in rates. While the YUB considered the request, it approved on an interim basis an increase of five percent, starting on August 1 of last year. Assuming our sample homeowner used the same amount of power in August as in July, their bill increased to $138.60. Then Yukon Energy asked for a rate decrease of 17.8 percent for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours or less a month. While the YUB considered our request, it approved an interim decrease of 3.48 percent, starting December 1, 2008. As a result, our homeowner’s bill decreased to $134.56 starting in December. Again, this is based on 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used. Are you still with us? There’s more! Early this year, the two utilities announced that the Fuel Adjustment Rider (Rider F) had been reduced to zero for bills starting March 1, 2009, and continuing until the YUB determines Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.‘s final rates. This will save our sample homeowner $19.53 per month during this period, decreasing his or her monthly bill to $115.03. With this change, power bills are lower today than at any time since at least January 2006. And they may go even lower soon. We are still waiting to learn the final amount that the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. will be allowed to charge its customers. But based on a recent ruling from the Yukon Utilities Board, the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. will not receive the full 11 percent increase it asked for. Instead, the revised rate changes that have been proposed would see the homeowner's bill dropping to $114.05 a month. There's one more piece to this puzzle. The Rate Stabilization Program is a Yukon government subsidy you will notice on your power bill. The program is scheduled to end in July of this year. If that happens in combination with Yukon Energy’s request for a 17.8 percent decrease and all other expected rate changes, the monthly bill for a residential customer using 100 kilowatt hours of power in a billing period would be $115.44. The bottom line for Yukon Energy is that we're doing everything within our power to keep your electric bills as low as possible.

Billing, Regulatory
Mar 27, 2009  Comment

Our Rate Application Explained

One of the benefits of our new transmission line from Carmacks to Pelly Crossing is that it has allowed us to ask for a rate decrease. Before the line was built, we promised to pass along to Yukoners some of the additional revenue we would receive as a result of gaining a new customer, the Minto mine, through the construction of the Carmacks to Pelly line. That’s why in October of last year we asked our regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board, to approve changes to our rates that would result in an overall saving to Yukoners this year of more than $1.3 million.  We wanted to go further than just passing along revenues from the Minto mine. We wanted to provide the biggest reduction possible to the largest number of Yukoners possible. That’s why we have proposed changes to our rate structure that will reward those who practice energy conservation. Here’s how it works: rates would be substantially reduced by 17.8 percent for a household’s ‘first block’ energy charges; for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours per month of energy used. ‘Second block’ energy charges (energy over 1,000 kilowatt hours a month) would increase, the amount dependant on the amount of energy used. All the added money we would receive from ‘second block’ charges would go to further reducing ‘first block’ rates. Since most households stay within that first block of 1,000 kilowatt hours a month (the average monthly usage is about 750 kilowatt hours) this method would allow more Yukoners to benefit from greater savings. Two tiered rate structures are not new. Similar systems are used by utilities right across the country, and Yukon Energy has had a two-tiered system in place for many years in which the second block is at a higher rate than the first. It was important to us to encourage energy conservation though this application. There is a growing demand for electricity in Yukon. While we are aggressively looking for new renewable power to meet this demand, this process takes time. In the absence of new generation, we face the prospect within a few years of running out of hydro and turning on our diesels. That’s why it’s important to us that we send price signals to encourage energy conservation. Conservation is the cleanest and least expensive way to meet the increase demand for electricity (think of it as building a virtual dam). And it’s easier than you might think…turning the thermostat down one degree saves 400 kilowatt hours per year; washing clothes in cold water saves as much as 720 kilowatt hours. Hanging clothes to dry even half the time saves another 520 kilowatt hours. However if our proposal is approved, there will still be some overall savings for residential customers who use up to about 1,300 kilowatt hours per month. For example, if you use 1,000 kilowatt hours per month you will see a reduction of $22.26 on your bill; if you consume 1,300 kilowatt hours you will still save $1.16 per month. Once you start using more than that, you will have to bear an increase. At 1,400 kilowatt hours a month, you will pay $5.88 more per bill. If you use 1,500 kilowatt hours, you will face increases of $12.91 a month. The Yukon Utilities Board Response In November last last year, the Yukon Utilities Board said it wanted to wait for a future hearing to consider the rate adjustments we have proposed for ‘first block’ and ‘second block’ customers. In the meantime, the Board has ordered us to implement an interim rate reduction of 3.48 percent. The interim rates went into effect on December 1, 2008. The Utilities Board hasn’t said an outright ‘no’ to our request. It’s merely said it doesn’t want to make a decision about our proposal at this time. The oral public hearings for our rate application are set for this coming May. We hope that at that time, the Utilities Board will be open to considering our proposal.

Billing
Mar 25, 2009  Comment

The Bottom Line

In an earlier posting we talked about the fact that Yukon Energy has asked our regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board (YUB), for a decrease in rates, while Yukon Electrical Ltd. has asked for a rate increase. One of you wrote that the total amount on your electric bill is all that’s really important. Today we’re going to speak about that bottom line. We will try to shed some light on the changes you’ve seen in your power bills over the last several months, and changes that are still to come. A warning that we are going throw a lot of numbers at you, but bear with us…we will try to keep the ‘head swimming’ factor to a minimum. Let’s take an example of a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month (the average usage in Yukon is about 750 kilowatt hours per month). Last July, this person’s bill would have been $132.80, including GST. The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve an 11 percent increase in rates. While the YUB considered the request, it approved on an interim basis an increase of five percent, starting on August 1 of last year. Assuming our sample homeowner used the same amount of power in August as in July, their bill increased to $138.60. Then Yukon Energy asked for a rate decrease of 17.8 percent for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours or less a month. While the YUB considered our request, it approved an interim decrease of 3.48 percent, starting December 1, 2008. As a result, our homeowner’s bill decreased to $134.56 starting in December. Again, this is based on 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used. If the Yukon Utilities Board had approved Yukon Energy’s request for a 17.8 percent decrease, our homeowner would have seen their bill reduced to $116.34 a month. Are you still with us? There’s more as we look beyond the end of 2008! The Rate Stabilization Program is a Yukon government subsidy you will notice on your power bill. The program is scheduled to end in July of this year. If that happens in combination with Yukon Energy’s request for a 17.8 percent decrease and all other rates in effect prior to last December, our homeowner’s bill would be $135.84. The two utilities have announced that the Fuel Adjustment Rider (Rider F) has been reduced to zero for bills starting March 1, 2009, until the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.‘s final rates are determined. This will save our homeowner $19.53 per month during this period. We are still waiting to learn the final amount that the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. will be allowed to charge its customers. But based on a recent ruling from the Yukon Utilities Board, the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. will not receive the full 11 percent increase it asked for. Yukoners should know within a few months what the final numbers will be. It’s important to us that you understand we have no control over what Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. is allowed to charge by the Yukon Utilities Board. We don’t have control over the fate of the Rate Stabilization Fund either. But in the areas we can control, Yukon Energy is doing everything we can to keep electrical rates as low as possible for the greatest number of Yukoners possible. In our next posting we will talk more about the rate changes we have asked our regulator to approve and we’ll explain the rationale behind our request. Note that one of you recently asked what your bill might look like if you used between 1,300 and 1,800 kilowatt hours per month. We will address this issue of ‘second block’ electricity usage in our next posting as well. Please keep those questions coming; we will try to answer each and every one of them.

Billing
Feb 19, 2009  Comment

Reading Your Power Bill

Confused about all those charges on your electric bill? Today we’ll walk you through how to read your bill. It would be best if you had your latest power bill in front of you, so you can follow along as you read this. If you don’t have one, you can use the sample bill provided here. It makes no difference whether your power supplier is Yukon Energy or Yukon Electrical Company; both bills have the same charges and the same lay-out.   Statement Account: This is your account number. Have that number ready if you have questions for your service provider about your bill.       Reading/Codes: This is your meter reading. It shows how much energy you used during the billing period. An ‘A’ beside the number indicates this is an actual meter reading. An ‘E’ shows a reading has been estimated. A reading is estimated if the meter reader wasn’t able to reach your meter for some reason (heavy snow, etc.).       Energy Used (kWh): This shows the amount of electricity you used during the billing period. In the case of the sample bill, this household used 826 kilowatt hours (kWh) in a month. The average monthly usage per household is about 700 kWh.       Consumption by Bill Cycle Chart: This chart shows you how much electricity you use each month. The month is represented by the letter below it (O is for October for example)       Balance Forward: This will show if you have any money owning from previous months.       Customer Charge: This covers a portion of the cost for assets such as powerlines and generation stations. This charge applies even if no power is used.       Energy Charge: The cost of the electricity you have used. If you’re a residential customer, you are charged 9.86 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours a month (this is referred to as the ‘first block’ rate). For each kilowatt hour you use above 1,000 (the ‘second block’), you are charged 10.45 cents if you live in a community served by hydro power, 12.36 cents if you live in a diesel community, or 25.77 cents if you live in Old Crow.       Fuel Adjustment Rider: This is the first of a series of riders you will see on your bill. Riders are temporary adjustments on electrical bills. They may be a rebate or they may collect money from customers. They are put in place to adjust for factors that were not anticipated when the electrical rate was established. The Fuel Adjustment Rider reflects the difference between the cost of using diesel to generate power in 1997 (the last time rates were set) and today.       Rate Stabilization Fund: This is a subsidy provided by the Yukon government. It was implemented in 1998 after the Faro mine closed to protect customers from significant bill increases that would have resulted from that shutdown. The subsidy is scheduled to end on July 1 of this year.       YEC Revenue Shortfall Rider: You might know this as Rider J. Yukon Energy needs a certain amount of money to pay its expenses. All customers contribute to that pot of money, including the Faro mine when it was in operation. When the mine closed permanently in 1998, Yukon Energy still had to cover its expenses, but with fewer customers. Rider J covers ongoing fixed Yukon Energy costs that can no longer be charged to the Faro mine.     Last year, Yukon Energy asked for a rate decrease. The Yukon Utilities Board is still considering that request. In the meantime, it has approved an interim decrease in Rider J of 3.48 percent.       YECL Interim Revenue Shortfall Rider: This is also known as Rider R. Yukon Electrical Company has asked for a rate increase. While the Yukon Utilities Board considers its request, it has been granted an interim rate increase of five percent.       Yukon Rebate of Income Tax: The Yukon government refunds part of the income tax paid by Yukon Electrical Company. That money is then passed on to customers.   Next time we’ll address a question that we have been asked quite often: “If I’m a Yukon Energy customer, why do I have to pay the five percent interim rate increase that has been given to Yukon Electrical Company? Shouldn’t it just be Yukon Electrical Company customers paying that increase?”